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Angola: UNHCR operations in Luanda disrupted

Briefing notes

Angola: UNHCR operations in Luanda disrupted

26 November 2002

The work of UNHCR's office in Luanda, Angola, has been disrupted in recent months by security incidents caused by a group of about 40 Congolese refugees staging protests outside the office. The group has complained about their living conditions and made unreasonable demands for resettlement in Europe and the United States. They have camped in front of the UNHCR premises since August this year, becoming increasingly aggressive and repeatedly threatening UNHCR staff. Last Wednesday, UNHCR staff suspended office work on recommendations from UN security officials until the situation has been resolved.

UNHCR has repeatedly requested the intervention of the authorities to remove the protesting refugees and ensure the safety of our staff. Last week, UNHCR also requested the UN Special Representative to Angola, Ibrahim Gambari, to intervene with the government in this regard. We do hope that the situation in Luanda will be resolved shortly. Although these events have greatly disrupted our activities in the Angolan capital, they have not affected our operations in the field, where UNHCR recently set up a new field office to assist returnees in the Moxico province. UNHCR is assisting some 13,000 Congolese refugees in Angola. Most of them live in Viana and Kifangondo camps near Luanda. The rest are urban refugees in the capital.